Professor Chris Paterson

Professor Chris Paterson


I teach and research in the areas of international journalism and international communications. I have written extensively on news agencies and on news production research methodology.  I welcome enquiries from doctoral students in these areas and those listed above.  

I am the Director of Taught Postgraduate Studies for the School of Media and Communication and lead the MA International Communication.

I received my PhD in International Communication from the University of Texas at Austin. My career has been divided between the UK and the US, where I have also worked in television production and broadcast journalism. I have taught at the Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester and in San Francisco, Atlanta, Northern Ireland, and Finland.

Between 2021 and 2023 I chaired the Global Communication and Social Change division of the International Communication Association.

For the International Association of Media and Communications Research, I founded the Working Group for Media Production Analysis and was elected to a second term on the IAMCR International Council in 2024.  In 2016 I chaired the IAMCR Environmental Impact Committee. I am on the executive board of the Leeds University Centre for African Studies and I am a member of the Priestley International Centre for Climate and the Leeds Migration Research Network (LMRN). 


  • Director of Taught Postgraduate Studies
  • Programme Leader, MA International Communication

Research interests

From January 2019, I have led the Global Challenges Research Fund funded project concerning Gender and Information in Climate Change Adaptation in rural Kenya and Ghana. In 2020 the project was awarded £200,000 of funding from the AHRC. Other research focusses on the processes of mediation which enable continuing forms of imperialism in Africa, and on the ways communication research can be used to mitigate the effects of global crises such as climate change in developing regions. I was the principal investigator for the Global Challenges Research Fund project Development Assistance and independent journalism in Africa and Latin America: A cross-national and multidisciplinary research network, which examined how foreign aid/development assistance has affected the ability of developing regions to foster a critical and independent media sector. I was also co-investigator for the British Academy Funded research project Contested Discourse of Africa Rising. 

With co-editors, I produced Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century, the first book in over two decades to examine the international media’s coverage of sub-Saharan Africa. It brought together leading researchers and prominent journalists to explore representation of the continent, and the production of that image, especially by international news media.

My book War Reporters Under Threat: the United States and Media Freedom (2014, Pluto Press) examined the nature of violence facing media from the United States and its allies, and I continue to write about the safety of journalists. I have continuing research interests in processes of imperialism and state surveillance, and created a plenary event for the IAMCR annual conference in Montreal which examined Surveillance and Resistance. I have written the only major study of television news agencies and originated and co-edited two volumes of Making Online News: The Ethnography of New Media Production (Peter Lang).  I have edited a special edition of African Journalism Studies concerning Journalism and Social Media in Africa; this special issue was produced as a book in 2015. I advocate for media production research, and co-edited the book Advancing Media Production Research,  Other interests include local journalists working for global media, news agencies in online media, the history of the wholesale television news industry, and investigation of emerging forms of news flow.

Hear reflections on much of this work in this podcast: culturalstudies.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD International Communication
  • MSc Broadcasting
  • BA Communications / Sociology

Professional memberships

  • International Association of Media and Communications Research
  • International Communications Association
  • European Communication Research and Education Association
  • International Environmental Communication Association
  • Society for the Social Studies of Science
  • Editorial Board: Journal of International Press / Politics
  • Editorial Board: African Journalism Studies
  • Editorial Board: Journal of African Media Studies

Student education

Postgraduate modules taught at Leeds University have included:

  • Climate Communication
  • Communication and International Affairs
  • Journalism Theory and Research
  • Communication and Development
  • Journalism: Radical Approaches

Undergraduate modules have included;

  • Climate Communication
  • International Communication
  • Broadcast Journalism Ethics

Research groups and institutes

  • Global Communication

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>